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Jeff,

1. Psychology is the focus area of my degree; more specifically I chose forensic psychology. To me it was one of the most interesting studies during the path to my degree completion, mainly because of the level of critical and creative thinking involved.  Learning how investigators put together information about criminals and their cases was intriguing.  Critical thinking is of the utmost importance, when it comes to profiling, tacking, and capturing criminals.  So many elements go into this process, take a serial killer for example.  Investigators must find clues such as finger prints, DNA, articles of clothing, or a signature item that is left behind.  A signature being something left at the scene that shows it was that person's work. 

Forensic psychologists play a crucial role in the courtroom as well.  Good forensic psychologists must have the ability to do the research necessary to answer questions posed by the case, which in turn requires an ability to evaluate the scientific and professional literature with a critical eye.  In the court case, if a forensic psychologist fails to think critically they risk being refuted by the other side's forensic expert (Feldman-Summers, 2012).  These individuals must be extremely methodical, calculating, and patient to achieve the desired results.

As explained by Bruce Arrigo, the field of forensic psychology extends way beyond the borders of the United States.  This makes things good and difficult at the same time.  The good part is that we can draw off of research that other countries have already done, as well as leverage other governments to help us solve cases.  The difficult part is learning additional international laws, and to stay within all of the boundaries and guidelines. 


Arrigo, B. A. (2000). Introduction to forensic psychology: Issues and controversies in crime and justice. San Diego: Academic Press. 

Feldman-Summers, Shirley (2012, February 17). A guide to developing a forensic practice. Retreived from http://www.shirleyfeldmansummers.com/blog/what-are-the-   qualities-of-a-good-forensic- psychologist/

 

Karen,

2. The area of focus I chose is Criminal Justice. I became interested in Criminal Justice due to the focus it places on the upholding of social control, deterring, mitigating crime, and sanctioning those who violate the law with penalties and rehabilitation. Criminal Justice relates to research, writing and interpretation of ideas in the areas of law enforcement, adjudication,and corrections.

In law enforcement, critical thinking is heavily relied on by the police officer for the determination of when a law is broken and how to respond to an arrest. The detectives utilize critical thinking to collect evidence to solve the crime and to determine a suspect. Critical thinking is essential in deciding the reaction and protection of self and the population of people in the area.

During the adjudication process, the judges and attorneys rely on critical thinking to oversee the legal proceedings and to make the final decision for the accused. The attorneys rely heavily on critical thinking to prepare and argue the cases for the individuals. In the corrections process, critical thinking plays a huge part in evaluating and monitoring the individuals. The guards in corrections utilize critical thinking in the areas of how to react in various situations and how to keep themselves and the populace safe.

This article discusses the challenges of engaging in critical thinking skills for law enforcement professionals and the importance of making sound decisions in the wake of new emerging threats that stem from domestic to international crime.Critical thinking skills are inevitably becoming a new business function for all types of organizations. Traditional management methodologies of some lawenforcement agencies may be antiquated, dictating the fact that organizational development/change may be required. Critical thinking skills can prove to be necessary for law enforcement professionals in acquiring new ways of thinking more proficiently and becoming more proactive in combating traditional violent crimes and more modern crimes, such as terrorism, organized crime and cyber crimes. 

Reference:

Phillips,W.E.,& Burrell, D.N (2009) Decision Making skills that encompass a critical thinking orientation for law enforcement professionals. International Journal of Police Science & Management 11(2), 141-149

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